Pumpkin Beef Chili

Thank goodness for canned pumpkin, allowing people everywhere to make pumpkin flavored dishes. I picked up a couple cans of pumpkin at the grocery store last week and was excited to make something using one of them. I found this recipe online and decided to make something similar.

*full recipe below

To start, I prepped the veggies by chopping 2 carrots, one red pepper, and half a white onion.

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I also prepped a spice mix by combining 1 tablespoon each of paprika and cocoa powder and 1 teaspoon each of red pepper flakes and cinnamon.

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I put the vegetables along with 1 lb. ground beef in a skillet with some coconut oil, stirring occasionally until the meat browned:

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Meanwhile…I chopped three small tomatoes:

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Once the meat browned, I added the tomatoes to the chili along with the spice mix:

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For the final touch, I added half a can of pumpkin, mixed thoroughly, and heated through:

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I served the chili with bread and it made for a hearty meal!

Pumpkin Beef Chili, serves 4
Ingredients
 - 1/2 white onion
 - 1 red pepper
 - 2 carrots
 - 3 small tomatoes
 - 1 T cocoa powder
 - 1 T paprika
 - 1 t cinnamon
 - 1 t red pepper flakes
 - 1/2 can pumpkin puree (15 oz)
 - 1 lb. ground beef
Method
 - chop onion, pepper, and carrots 
 - combine cocoa powder, paprika, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes
 in a small bowl to have ready
 - heat ~1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a skillet and add the
 onion, pepper, carrots, and ground beef
 - cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is browned. While the meat
 is browning, chop the tomatoes
 - after the meat is browned, add tomatoes, spice mix, and pumpkin
 - stir to combine and continue cooking until heated through
 - serve warm with bread or grain of choice

Beef Red Curry

I have had a serious appetite for meat lately. Red meat to be specific. This is somewhat uncharacteristic for me, so I’ve been experimenting making dishes with beef. The latest in my culinary exploits: beef red curry.

This dish ended up being a bit spicy, so if you’re of a weak composition, you might do well to decrease the spice content.

*full recipe below

Once the dish gets going, you’ll be adding ingredients fairly quickly. So, before you start, combine all of the necessary spices for the red curry sauce in a small bowl. You will need: garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, fish sauce, sugar, chili powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

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Add 1lb. beef (cut into bite-sized pieces) to a pot and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until starting to brown on all sides:

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Once the meat is slightly browned all around (if you cook too long at this stage it will be overcooked!), add in one can of coconut milk and the full contents of the spice bowl:

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While this cooks, rinse and coarsely chop three bunches of bok choy:

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Add this to the pot and cook on low heat for approximately 10 minutes until the curry is warmed through and the meat is fully cooked:

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Beef Red Curry, serves 4
Ingredients
- 1 lb. beef
- 3 bunches bok choy
- 1 can coconut milk 
- 2 tsp. minced garlic
- 1 heaping tsp. minced garlic
- 3/4 tsp. coriander
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 1 tsp. sugar
- 2 tbsp. chili powder
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
Method
Combine spices and fish sauce in a small bowl and set aside. 
Heat a medium-sized pot and add 1lb. of bite-sized beef pieces.
Cook beef until all sides begin to brown.
Add coconut milk and spices, stir to combine.
Rinse and chop bok choy and add to the pot.
Cook for approx. 10 minutes until curry is warmed through and meat is cooked to your liking.

As an aside, if you really hate someone, one heartless thing to do would be pour some fish sauce on them. That stuff is rank.

Beef and Mushroom Taco Salad

I have two food goals currently.

1. Cook smaller recipe sizes. Even though I’m only cooking for myself, I’ve been making full recipes. The result is I will end up eating the same thing all week. I want to get more variety, so I’m trying to make less food at one time. This will force me to cook more during the week. While time consuming, I really enjoy cooking and think that will be a positive thing.

2. Have more variety in the foods I buy. Although I make a variety of recipes, I typically stick with the same set of staple foods and just make them in different ways. Yogurt, apples, bananas, chicken, spinach. Eating a wider array of foods will – I’m hoping – be both fun and nutritious since I will getting a greater range of vitamins and nutrients.

As a result of these goals, my grocery shopping trip to the farmer’s market and co-op included these food I don’t normally buy: ground beef, chicken sausage, cantaloupe, peaches, rainbow chard. I also tried to round out purchases with foods that I get sometimes but aren’t regulars. For this, I got: mushrooms, tomatoes, broccoli, and turkey sandwich meat.

From this spread, a taco salad was born. *full recipe below

First, cook 1 onion in some coconut oil spray:

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Add 1/2 pound ground beef:

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As the meat starts to cook, add a heaping 1/2 cup of crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, paprika, and stir to combine:

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Add mushrooms:

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Once cooked through, serve atop greens:

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And add the fixings:

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I added cheese, avocado, salsa, and black bean chips.

This dinner was delicious! Since the recipe I made was for two portions, I get to look forward to the next serving tomorrow. Some chocolate and coconut milk finished off the meal perfectly. 🙂

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serves 2
Ingredients
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- generous 1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
- generous 1/2 cup mushrooms
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
Method
Heat a skillet with non-stick coconut oil spray. Add onions and saute.
As the onions starts to become translucent, add beef.
As beef begins to brown, add crushed tomatoes, garlic powder, and paprika.
Stir to combine and cook for a few minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until meat is done and veggies are tender.
Serve as a salad or tacos!

Wise Acre Eatery

When I first moved to Minneapolis a couple years ago, Wise Acre Eatery was one of the first restaurants recommended to me. It feel off my radar pretty quick though in the excitement of all the other restaurants I could try, and I only remembered about it when I saw it voted as the best farm-t0-table restaurant in Minneapolis-St Paul Magazine reader’s poll. I took my parents to try it last night (or – if we’re being specific – really they took me). The outside was pretty impressive at night with their sign shining in bright lights:

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The inside was decorated with various plants and vines springing from the walls and ceiling:

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Along with some inspiring signs and positive messages:

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As soon as we were seated, a small dish of popcorn was brought to the table.

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The menu was pretty impressive, although not the greatest for picky eaters. I decided to get an appetizer for my main meal. I got beet hummus served with vegetables and homemade potato chips. The hummus was incredible! Sweet and delicious – I could have just eaten it by the spoonful. The chips were pretty neat too: potatoes sliced the long way that were crunchy on the outside but still soft on the inside. Wise Acre is a CSA supported restaurant, so the vegetables tasted really fresh and were wonderful raw.

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My mom ordered a dish called Leeks and Lillies:

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It was a leek and lemon thyme tart with mushrooms, goat cheese, cucumbers, apples, and a citrus wild rice salad.

My dad ordered Spring Borscht:

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The Borscht came with braised beef, beets, fingerling potatoes, dill weed, and spring veggies. On the menu it also came with sour cream, but my dad asked for them to leave it off.

For dessert, I had a hot chocolate and my parents ordered an espresso with vanilla custard (unpictured):

hot chocolate

hot chocolate

The hot chocolate was really yummy! Must have been due to their locally sourced milk:

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Wise Acre Eatery was definitely a winner – really quality food all around. The menu is not too extensive though, so if you’re a picky eater or want some basic options, this might not be the right spot for you. I would go back but probably only for a fancier occasion since it’s fairly upscale. If you live in the area and haven’t gone, it’s definitely worth your time to stop by soon!